Win Ugly: Arsenal vs. Newcastle United (1/2/2016)

koscielny vs newcastle 2016

Watching yesterday’s game reminded me of our mauling in Southampton on Boxing Day, yet Arsenal (thanks in no small part to Petr Cech) stood as the victor in what would’ve been a game that we’d normally lose or draw.  Koscielny’s goal was the difference in a scrappy affair where the Magpies had the better chances to score.  Mitrovic was unlucky to some degree, but Cech did the business to snuff out the danger as Newcastle squeezed past our defenders to fire.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the ref.  The man was atrocious.

Oh, and Ramsey….please, if you’re clear on goal and if your lane blocked, GIVE IT TO CAMPBELL!!!!

Arsenal have always been beaten by the cudgel of “mental fragility” by many a pundit over the years, but it’s nice to see that we can dig out an ugly win with a set piece and get 9 out of a possible 12 points during a very hectic timeframe.  With us still retaining our place at the top of the table, it will become more of an imperative to grind out wins as the next set of fixtures approach (along with an FA Cup tie).  Yes, we’ve got some injuries, but our depth is there (barely).  The worry I have is that our defense and midfield was left exposed quite often against Newcastle so personally, I really think we need to tighten up with some structure / shape.  We’re missing Coquelin’s physical presence in midfield since both Southampton and Newcastle have proven that they could bully us in midfield with little consequence.  Here’s to hoping that we can dig deep and make it happen as we wait for the rest of our troops to return.

 

Arsenal and Chances

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I was unable to see the entire clash between the Gunners and City this Monday, but that’s why we have highlights.  BBC’s Live Updates kept me nervy, but after 3 fabulous goals (both Theo’s and Yaya’s in particular), the game ended 2-1 to the Gunners.  This closes the gap to Leicester and puts a nice 4 point cushion between us and the Blue Moon.  Frankly, I’m both thrilled and relieved.

I haven’t spoken much about the Gunners recently, but there’s such a feel good vibe about being a Gooner this year.  From back-to-back FA Cups to the acquisition of Petr Cech (along with the shit-sacking of Jose Mourinho), things continue to look up for us, and it’s showing on the faces of our players.  Wenger spoke of a togetherness in the team despite the injuries and you really feel that these lads are playing for each other.  Ozil is shining as the star that we all thought he is, Coquelin, despite injuries, is a beast, Joel Campbell is making a name for himself and Ollie G is just tucking the goals away.  Cech continues to secure our goalmouth while the four in front of him deserve so much credit as well.  How can we get this far without such a solid back line like this?

It’s too early to tell where we’ll be come the end of the season, but so far, things are looking great.  COYG!!

Eat a Bear Trap Mourinho

Football Everton v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything football related and unfortunately, rather than blurb about Arsenal’s 2 recent FA Cup victories (we broke the goddamned drought you fucks), our heroic dismantling of Manchester United, RVP’s wonder own-goal or Ozil’s 27th birthday, I want to chat about the cunt that is the darling of the English football press, but the scourge of all that is holy in Football: Jose Mourinho.

For me to see Chelsea so low at the table (16th place as I write this) is a joy I rarely indulge in, especially when it comes after both their purchase of last season’s Premier League title and our purchase of their prized goalkeeper Petr Cech.  Yes, Cesc is there in Stamford Bridge still, but with the way he’s been playing, I certainly hope that he won’t be for long. The Special One seems to have not only lost the plot in the dressing room (and in the medical room I might add with Dr. Carneiro), but he continues to lose it in the press room with incoherent drivel at every turn, with some of it thrown indirectly at our manager. Well fuck you Jose, and go eat a fucking bear trap.

I relish the day where Mourinho’s bullshit anti-football bites him back in the ass and gets Chelski relegated, but that will be too good to be true.  However, weekly implosions will suffice.  Until then, cheers to you Jose, and enjoy that platter of bear-chomping goodness as it smiles back at you….you fuck.  COYG!!!

Phil McNulty & Celebrations

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I’m sure you all know that this has been a very up and down season for Arsenal, especially since we’ve been number 1 in the Premier League for quite some length, only for it all to topple as we now remain at 5th.  Now, I won’t add to what others have mentioned already, but let me just say that it hurts as a fan.

Yesterday, Arsenal gave us a dogged, grind-it-out, ugly performance to reach the FA Cup finals after the shot-stopping Lukasz Fabianski provided the foothold we needed to beat a Wigan squad who, despite playing for the Championship, remain undefeated in their last 12 games in this tournament.  It was for that reason that we celebrated.  It was for that reason that fans all across Arsenal were swept in jubilation…we have emerged with a chance to reclaim the FA Cup.

Then some hack at the BBC wrote this a day later.

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The February that was for Arsenal: Comments and the BBC have at it!

161954706_crop_exactIt’s the beginning of March, and to be blunt, I’d like to collect all of you fellow Gooners out there and hear about your thoughts concerning the Gunners and what a menacing February its been for them.  Our tragic loss to Blackburn in the FA was too much for me to bare, and with the British media’s Crisis-o-meter set to full blast on Arsenal’s defeat at the hands of an in-form Bayern Munich, it’s reasonable to say that to most non-Gooners, the Arsenal are up the shitter.  Doom and gloom has returned once again, and although they played and won against Aston Villa late in February, that won’t stop the BBC and our own would be Gooners to tarnish and feather the team at large.

However, let’s take a step back to look at what others like to say about the gang we love to call The Gunners.  The Beeb’s own Garth Crooks (a former ‘Spuds’ player mind you) generally writes the “Team of the Week” column and although Arsenal came on top against the Villans on February 23rd (with many a thanks to two goals from Cazorla), Jack Wilshere was given the spotlight on his choice. saying:

When is Arsene Wenger going to wake up and smell the coffee? He’s got serious internationals in his side with much more experience but far less fight than Jack Wilshere. The England international is the only real leader they’ve got and if Wenger doesn’t give this lad the support his talent deserves then he will be off like Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. And it will serve him right.

Where the fuck does this nonce come off from?  No one is even TALKING about club departures from Arsenal!!!  He just signed a new contract and subjects like this aren’t even in the radar yet, let alone on some jackwad’s blog discussing who’s in the “Team of the Week!!!”  How the FUCK is that even relevant?  Is trolling THAT relevant for football coverage??  Garth Crooks, who died and made you judge and jury upon all you see at the Arsenal, eh?  Loads of garbage, plain and simple.

649301-fbl-eur-c1-arsenal-bayern-munichBut let’s track back even further and see what the BBC had to say about Wenger’s “imminent” departure (a la Benitez?) from Arsenal after his FA Cup shock and Munich Massacre shall we?  In all honesty, we had no excuse to lose in the FA, given that it was the most REALISTIC chance for us to gain back a Cup of some sort, but it’s clear that our defense and, dare I say, goal keeping issues need to be addressed.  I love the SZCZ, but he’s gotta be keen as a butcher knife, and with errors like that, some may wonder if he’s sharp enough to cut the mustard.  TV5 needs to grow in stature in terms of leadership and there’s just gotta be more of a “Shut this FUCKING GAME DOWN” mentality if we are to have a real bite into the Top 4.  But alas, Phil McNulty has overdone all of us shameful Arsenal fans and decided to write one of his biggest, steamiest, nastiest piles of journalism in a while, where the headline vaguely seems like it’s there to call for the manager’s head.  In this steaming pile of shit, he writes:

Throw in defeats to League Two Bradford City in the Capital One Cup and more recently Championship Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and this is a manager and team as far away as it has ever been from restoring old glories.

It is a sorry state of affairs for a classy, decent and dignified man who has brought so much to the Premier League as well as three titles and four FA Cups to Arsenal. Where he once had “The Invincibles” he now has the fallibles.

Contrary to some fairly widespread opinion, the media is not out to “get” Wenger but you cannot turn muck into honey and a simple analysis of Arsenal’s current place makes grim reading. He is held in huge respect, affection too, but past achievements cannot act as a shield against present realities.

Of all the things that irk me the most is this “I know a lot better about this shit than you” attitude that riles me about both of the aforementioned blog articles from the Beeb.  With no positive advice from these sages save for the olde English adages of “Grow some balls Frenchie,” “Buy more,” “Don’t hide behind your past laurels,” and the good ol’  “Gonna lose another player so you BETTER SPEND,”  one wonders if these daft football scribes masturbate themselves to sleep with dreams of becoming oligarchs who do nothing more than to use their coffers to silence their mistresses and fatten their football clubs.  With nothing constructive to contribute to the seemingly “ignoble” fall from grace that Arsenal are “apparently” undergoing, one wonders if that’s really what British football wants.  The irony of it all is that some of the things that Arsene has been accused of during his glory days (bringing more foreign, i.e. French, players to the English game) in such negative fashion have now become things that most clubs do without any sort of reprimand.  Alan Pardew’s grab and bag of French stars is proof of this, irregardless of the fact that he was one of the many people who considered Arsenal’s accomplishments as “not necessarily a triumph for British football”.

However, I’d like to end this incessant ranting with some clippings I got from McNulty’s comments section in relation to the aforementioned shit-piece her wrote about Arsenal (in numerical order, with Comment #005 being the highest rated).  Feel free to say what you feel, and as you know, I am only highlighting these to only bring perspective to all of you Gooners who may or may not have lost their fucking minds.  Regardless, keep the faith people, and if you really love Arsenal, then do us a favor, CALM THE FUCK DOWN!!!  (Me included)  Either that or just hope that we won’t implode in a frenzy of self-hatred once we get the results from Sunday’s derby with the Spuds.

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Arsenal are Mid-table? Or Medievil?

fypAs some of you footy fans are aware, Arsenal have been having a poor run of form as of late. I haven’t said much about them since their tie with the Blue Moon, but much of the energy that they’ve had in the beginning of the season has now been sapped. With Diaby injured, our defense shaky, and the man marking of Arteta impeding EVERYTHING, it’s hard for me to watch a game every weekend. Giroud seems to be coming to life, but the midfield issues need to be addressed because teams are really pressing the ball out of us. You saw this in the Everton game, the Swansea game, and now, today’s Olympiacos game. Wenger obviously wanted his young squad to get some experience today, but of course, they got a butt whooping instead.  In terms of depth, it’s good to see Wilshere back, but let’s face it, he’s still raw and recovering (like the rest of the guys I guess). Rosicky is a bit more welcome in my eyes, but as you saw today, he just picked up a knock once again after scoring. That forward drive has to return to the team, along with a faster tempo and better ball handling, or we may be in the dust…

I may have to accept that Arsenal are now a “mid-table team” and that will become more cannon fodder for the media and for those glory hunters, but all of you Gooners out there should remember to urge calm and change through sensible means here. What are we, Chelsea? I’d love Uncle Arsene to change up the formations, add more midfielders, have more capable squad members and spend on someone who can free up Arteta, but lets criticize with any sort of demonizing. This isn’t FIFA 11 from EA, okay?  You can leave that job to the fucking pundits for all I care.  Our form isn’t helping things much (along with the squad depth), but neither is this infighting. I know we seem to be “mid-table,” but not Medieval.

Otherwise, try to have a good one you fellow Gooners.

A Tale of Two Sixes: Arsenal vs. Manchester City (EPL, 9-23-2012)

September the 23rd marked my sixth year living in the Tampa Bay area and nothing could help me start that day better than a valiant display of attacking football at the Etihad.  The Blue Moon’s number 6, Joleon Lescott, scored from a thumping header in the first half, but it was our number 6, Laurent Koscielny, that made the comeback with one helluva goal (thanks in no small part to a corner earned from Cazorla’s near death shot.  Ouch!!) to deny the Citizens the win.

I’ll be brief with my words here, but the Gunners’ midfield dominance was key to all of this.  Those who predicted that last Saturday’s game would be a war between Abou Diaby and Citeh giant Yaya Toure were in for a surprise as the latter exerted absolutely no influence on the game.  Both Diaby and Arteta commanded the pitch while Ramsey had his BEST game ever, darting away and making trouble for the citizens outside the penalty area.  Gervinho continued to have the majority of the chances, and although he blew quite a few, he was instrumental for adding pressure to the opposition’s defenses.  Cazorla and Podolski continue to link up well, with the latter being the creative outlet for the team.  By miles, we were the better side going forward.

But the talk of the town right now is our defense, specifically with Per Mertesacker.  Voted Man of the Match during the game, Per made key interceptions during Citeh’s forward drives and was THE leader of the defense, while Koscielny used more of his skill to win back or take away the ball from the opposition.  Laurent almost gifted Aguero a goal after his, but thankfully, the Argentine’s shot went wide.  Mannone is beginning to prove himself as a number one and will be seen as a keen competitor for the spot soon.  Gibbs was reliable going forward and in defense, save for his error that gifted Citeh a corner, while Jenkinson continues to improve dramatically, with him being the one that began to mount more attacks in the second half.  Who would’ve thought that we could defend like this?

And let’s not take anything away from the Blue Moon.  They defended well and had great chances in the counterattack, but were unable to mount anything particularly deadly (generally) since they were unable to hold the ball for any long spell.  Overall, it was a spirited performance from Arsenal, and if it even got Jaime Redknapp, Gary Neville, and that cunt of a man Robbie Savage to actually sing praises about the Gunners, then by Jove my friends, I think we’ve done it.  Staying humble amidst all of this is a must, but it seems like the belief is there in the squad.  Chelsea is a comin’ and we’ve got Coventry to tangle with today for the League Cup, so lets keep this up gents.